The Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy was inaugurated on December 10, 2001 by representatives of the more than twenty institutions Andrew Carnegie established all over the world. This award, created at the centennial observance of Mr. Carnegie’s official career as a philanthropist, is given every two years to one or more individuals who, like Andrew Carnegie, have dedicated their private wealth to the public good and who have impressive careers as philanthropists.
The philanthropic impact of the Carnegie medalists has been enormous. Literally billions of pounds have improved the lives of people around the globe. These philanthropists and the foundations which they have established have changed the way we all live, and have changed it for the better.
However, Carnegie medalists are much more than that. They are role models to us all, no matter how much or how little wealth we might have. We live on a fragile planet that faces tremendous challenges, conflict and pain, but it is also a planet of hope, of giving, of the tenderness and strength of humanity and of the belief that we can do so much more together than we can do apart. The need for philanthropists such as our medalists has never been greater and our hope is that others will follow their example.
– William Thomson, CBE, Former Chair and Honorary President, Carnegie U.K. Trust;
Honorary Chair, Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy Selection Committee;
and great-grandson of Andrew Carnegie
The Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy is awarded by organizations founded by Andrew Carnegie through an international selection committee comprised of the leadership of several of the organizations.
The Medal honors Carnegie’s philanthropic achievements by recognizing the achievements of other philanthropists whose work:
- Reflects his breadth of vision and sense of private obligation to the public good;
- Is of significant dimension and has been sustained over time; and
- Has had a significant impact internationally or on a particular field, nation, or group of people
In addition to providing international recognition to such individuals, families, and institutions, the Medal awards and associated events stimulate what Carnegie called “the business of benevolence” by widening the circle of international donors and advancing his driving commitment to giving.
AGREED in Washington, DC on March 29, 2006.
The Award Process
More than twenty institutions established by Carnegie are responsible for selecting medalists and honoring those chosen to receive the Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy. Nominations are made by the Carnegie family of institutions.
The selection committee is comprised of four members of the steering committee that organized the inaugural medal — Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Carnegie Institution for Science, and the Carnegie Trusts for the Universities of Scotland — along with two additional Carnegie institutions, which rotate onto the committee each award cycle. William Thompson, great-grandson of Carnegie and former Chair of the Carnegie UK Trust, is honorary chair of the committee. Vartan Gregorian, President of Carnegie Corporation of New York, chairs the committee.
- Medalists must have a vision of philanthropy that reflects the ideals and breadth of Andrew Carnegie, the man the medal celebrates
- The work of the philanthropist must have a sustainable track record
- The medalists must have made a significant impact on a particular field, nation, or group of people, either nationally or internationally
Each recipient receives a bust of Andrew Carnegie — an original work of art cast in bronze and created specially for the award — and a bronze medal.